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Atlas Shrugged (2011)

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The Marvel-Industrial Complex; Chatting with Helen Hunt; Top Ten Spielberg Summer Movies; Aboard Frankenheimer's "Train"; Farewell to David Letterman.

Ebert Club

#231 August 13, 2014

Sheila writes: What a sad week this has been already. We lost both Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall, and the tributes have been flooding the Internet. We have included some link round-ups below with tribute pieces and obituaries, including the two beautiful pieces running on The response has been overwhelming. In case you missed it, here is David Simon's remembrance of a day on the set of "Homicide" with Robin Williams. Please share your favorite roles, favorite moments, favorite memories of these two beloved performers.


"Elementary" and the Holmes Tradition

Ian Grey visits Sherlock Holmes, and deduces why Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective is perfectly suited to episode television—and endlessly re-inventable.

Roger Ebert

A shot in the dark

Catie and Caleb Medley went to the doomed midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises." It was a movie they'd been looking forward to for a year, her father said. Gunfire rang out. The bullets missed Catie, who was pregnant. Caleb was shot in the eye. On Tuesday, their son Hugo was born. Caleb is listed in critical condition, and the cost of emergency treatment for his head wound has already reached $2 million. The Medleys were uninsured.

Roger Ebert

My mighty hammering over "Thor"

If I had my piece on "Thor" to write over again, I think it would be more bemused and whimsical. My tone was off. I brought too much anger to a trivial entertainment. When I described it as "a desolate vastation," I went perhaps one hyperbole too far.

I try to use a generic approach in my reviews. I approach a movie with some idea of their intention and the expectation of their target audience. I compared "Thor" to other movies based on comic book heroes, and found it lacking. But it doesn't really intend to be good in the sense that "The Dark Knight" or "Spider-Man II" are good. It's pitched at the level of a children's movie, although the expensive scope of the production tends to conceal that.

Ebert Club

#53 March 9, 2011

Marie writes: every once in a while, you'll stumble upon something truly extraordinary. And when you don't, if you're lucky, you have pals like Siri Arnet who do - and share what they find; smile."Using knives, tweezers and surgical tools, Brian Dettmer carves one page at a time. Nothing inside the out-of-date encyclopedias, medical journals, illustration books, or dictionaries is relocated or implanted, only removed. Dettmer manipulates the pages and spines to form the shape of his sculptures. He also folds, bends, rolls, and stacks multiple books to create completely original sculptural forms.""My work is a collaboration with the existing material and its past creators and the completed pieces expose new relationships of the book's internal elements exactly where they have been since their original conception," he says. - mymodernmet

[click images to enlarge]

Roger Ebert

Hugh Hefner has been good for us

From the moment that Hal Holmes and I slipped quietly into his basement and he showed me his father's hidden collection of Playboy magazines, the map of my emotional geography shifted toward Chicago. In that magical city lived a man named Hugh Hefner who had Playmates possessing wondrous bits and pieces I had never seen before. I wanted to be invited to his house.

I was trembling on the brim of puberty, and aroused not so much by the rather sedate color "centerfold" of an undressed woman, as by the black and white photos that accompanied them. These showed an ordinary woman (I believe it was Janet Pilgrim) entering an office building in Chicago, and being made up for her "pictorial." Made up! Two makeup artists were shown applying powders and creams to her flesh. This electrified me. It made Pilgrim a real person. In an interview she spoke of her life and ambitions.

Movie Answer Man

Ang Lee: Looking for love

Q: You wrote from Toronto: "Ang Lee's other films have included 'Eat Drink Man Woman,' 'The Ice Storm,' 'Sense and Sensibility,' 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' and 'The Hulk,' and find if you will the connecting link."

Festivals & Awards

Sundance Festival of independent films opens today

PARK CITY, Utah The future of the American film industry begins its annual convention here today, at the Sundance Film Festival. For the next 10 days, new independent films and documentaries will unspool all over town, in every possible performance space: Wherever two or three gather together, they're probably looking at a movie.

Movie Answer Man

Movie Answer Man (02/04/1996)

Q. I've been wondering, how do they decide which fast-food restaurants get tie-ins to which movies? Currently, Burger King has "Toy Story," Taco Bell handled the first "Batman" movie but McDonald's took over the next two. Subway has been stung twice--with "Coneheads" and "Beverly Hillbillies," but rebounded nicely with "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls." (Willie Holmes, Chicago).